The Cleveland Indians snapped a four-game losing streak with a 7-5 win over the Kansas City Royals Wednesday night.
Wednesday’s One Last Thing: The Indians are finally getting some positive signs from Jason Kipnis and Michael Bourn.
Indians manager Terry Francona this past Sunday moved Michael Bourn down to the No. 9 spot in the lineup for the first time in his career. That pushed Jason Kipnis up to the leadoff spot.
Four days later, both are starting to swing the bat better.
Kipnis hit a three-run home run Wednesday, which was his first home run since July 31 of last season, a stretch that spans 67 games and 265 at-bats. Kipnis was dealing with an oblique injury last season that sapped his ability to really drive the ball—especially to the opposite field—and then got off to a slow start this season while not showing much power.
“It was a nice feeling—something I haven’t felt in a while,” Kipnis said. “There’s going to be pressure on myself to do well no matter what. But, just to finally have it happen, to finally see it, is always refreshing.”
Bourn went 2-for-4, including an RBI-double down the right-field line in the sixth inning that put the Indians ahead for good. Tuesday, Bourn went 1-for-3 with a stolen base.
“Bourny’s never going to hit .180. But I do think he’s taking some better swings,” Francona said. “Regardless of where he hit in the order, I think he’ll heat up. Sometimes until they do, you got him sitting there in the leadoff spot, it’s a little more glaring, especially when we’re not scoring runs.”
Carlos Santana has been getting on base (three more walks Wednesday night), Michael Brantley has been hitting well (.333 entering Wednesday) and Brandon Moss has four home runs in the past two weeks. Offensively, the Indians haven't done much more than that. Kipnis and Bourn, two veteran players in the middle of long-term contracts, are two needed pieces to a struggling offense that are starting to join that group.
The Indians have had an April to forget. If Kipnis and Bourn can continue to make progress, Bourn will likely by moved back to leadoff, Kipnis will slide down to second and the Indians can have the top of the order they envisioned at the outset of this season.
Francona's move seems to be producing the right results for now.